Pigeons and doves are members of the same family. The largest species in that family are usually called pigeons and the others are doves, but genetically, pigeons and doves are close cousins.
Pigeons and doves are the only birds that can drink water by sucking it into their esophagus, head down. Other birds must tip their head back to swallow water.
Both male and female pigeons and doves feed their nestlings "crop milk," a liquid produced from sloughed-off cells in the crop. Chicks feed by placing their head inside the parent's mouth, stimulating the adult to produce the substance. Flamingos also feed their young crop milk.
Rock pigeons were introduced from Europe several centuries ago and have become one of the most common and familiar birds in North America.
North America's largest pigeon species is the band-tailed, which is a year-round resident of conifer and oak woods near the Pacific Coast. It also breeds in the arid Southwest.
Two other pigeon species are native to North America: red-billed, whose range extends north from Mexico to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, and white-crowned, found in the Florida Keys and Everglades.
The common ground-dove is North America's smallest dove. It is found in Florida, southern Texas, Southern California, southern Arizona and the southern tip of New Mexico.
Several more dove species are native to North America, including, Inca, white-tipped, white-winged, and of course, the most widespread, mourning dove. Several other dove species have been introduced to North America, including the Eurasian collared-dove, and several more turn up as rarities.